Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr John Kelly

Lecturer - Sport Management

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Sociology of Sport and/or physical activity; 'Sectarianism'; militarism; national identity; Media-sport


1995-98: BA (Hons) Sport and Human Movement Studies, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

2000-2002: MA Sport and Leisure Cultures, University of Brighton

2003-2007: PhD Sociology of Sport, Loughborough University

Having been employed in numerous sports coaching positions. I completed an HNC at Dundee College in Sports Development and Sports Coaching. I then studied Sport and Human Movement Studies at UWIC in order to complete a one-year PGCE in Physical Education and become a teacher of physical education. Being disillusioned with the school teaching process and increasingly developing my sociological imagination, I began a part-time Masters in Sport and Leisure Cultures at the University of Brighton whilst being employed full-time at the International Study Centre, Herstmonceux (East Sussex), by Queen's University (Ontario) as a student activities coordinator. During this time I worked at Brighton University and Roehampton University as a visiting lecturer in the sociology of sport. I then managed to win a School of Sport and Exercise Science studentship to complete a full-time PhD at Loughborough University. I worked on a part-time basis at Loughborough University as a student sub-warden in the halls of residence whilst completing my doctorate. In February 2007 I undertook my first post-doctorate position as a senior lecturer in the sociology of sport at the University of Worcester before joining Moray House School of Education in September 2008.

Current Research Interests

My research interests lie within the broad area of the sociological analysis of sport, exercise and leisure. I seek to critically evaluate the relationships between class, nation, ethnicity and sport within the UK and Scotland in particular. Whilst this has been my main research area, i'm interested in how power manifests itself in sporting worlds - sport industries and social sciences of sport. This includes how we achieve trustworthy and believable analyses whilst balancing our own involvement or detachment in relation to the issue being analysed. I've utilised theoretical perspectives informed by Erving Goffman's symbolic interactionist approach and Pierre Bourdieu's conceptual model of habitus and i'm interested in these theoretical applications more broadly. Research Supervision: I am prepared to consider supervising research in the areas described above and/or related to my recent publications / research. My previous PhD students researched the following topics:

Sociological analysis of women's international rugby coaching

Critical analysis of discursive formations of health, wellbeing and the body within physical education environments.

I am also an external advisor for a student studying "interaction rituals of dance class participants in Glasgow" (in collaboration with Royal Conservatoir of Scotland and St. Andrews University)

Collaborative Activity

My current research involves: I am currently working on a number of articles on the following: the use of 'sectarian' language, specifically comparing and contrasting the use of 'fenian' and 'hun' in Scottish discourse; Scottish rugby union supporters and issues around class, regional and national identities; sport's (and popular culture's) use in ideologically endorsing US/UK militarism in their 'war on terror'; analysing the ideological and structural aspects of media-sport. Social media and effects on young people's presentation of self.

I am a founding member of the Sport and Society research group within our Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences.


  • Placement (year 2)
  • Advanced Research Methods (year 3)
  • Sociology of Sport (year 3)
  • Sport, Media and Society (year 4)
  • Sport in Global Context (year 4)
  • Dissertation (year 4)

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